Tuesday, December 10

Gay marriage in Bruin Plaza to end Coming Out Week


A marriage ceremony between two men will take place in Bruin
Plaza today at noon to conclude this year’s National Coming
Out Week at UCLA.

“The wedding will be traditional in many respects, except
that it involves two men,” said Peter Lopez, one of the two
fiancés.

He added that he is very excited and happy about the event, but
also very nervous.

Lopez, a former chairman of La Familia ““ an organization
of Chicana/o lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students
““ plans to marry Willie Romero, his boyfriend of seven
months.

The couple decided to marry two months ago, and when a friend
and former chair of the Queer Alliance ““ a coalition of
UCLA’s six LGBT organizations ““ mentioned the idea of a
public wedding at UCLA, Lopez said he “jumped at the
chance.”

After the civil ceremony there will be a reception at the LGBT
Resource Center. The ceremony will be performed by West Hollywood
Mayor Jeffrey Prang.

Prang, who is gay, said he felt honored to be asked to perform
the ceremony because it serves an important purpose. He has
previously performed one other same-sex marriage.

While Romero’s family is excited and supportive of the
wedding, Lopez said his family of conservative Pentacostal
Christians does not support the union.

Members of Lopez’s family are not the only people who are
concerned about the ceremony.

Scott Gunn, a third-year molecular cell developmental biology
student, said though he does not believe the event is bad, he
expects some UCLA students to be resentful of the on-campus
ceremony.

Adam Levy, a founding member of Mishpacha, an organization of
LGBT Jewish students, also predicts that there will be protesters.
But he does not expect most protesters to be UCLA students.

In anticipation of protesters, the Queer Alliance plans to open
a lemonade stand that raises money while protesters are present,
but closes when they are no longer there.

The idea comes from the saying “when life gives you
lemons, make lemonade,” according to a pamphlet instructing
participants on the best ways to deal with protesters.

Jason Fasi, Queer Alliance secretary, expects the ceremony to go
well. He believes that even if students do not support same-sex
marriages, most support domestic partnership for LGBT
individuals.

Fasi estimated that over 3,500 people attended this past
year’s resource fair, which wrapped up National Coming Out
Week 2002, and he expects more to attend today’s wedding.

The ceremony takes place after the recent passage of
California’s Assembly Bill 205, which granted same-sex
partners additional civil rights, such as death rights and property
rights.

A marriage between a man and woman grants the couple 1,136
rights by the federal government. Though the state bill grants the
people in same-sex marriages some rights, it does not grant them
all the rights that a marriage recognized by the federal government
would.

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